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The Journal Gazette

Wednesday, May 17, 2017 1:00 am

Bravas loading up new bus with tacos

Kimberly Dupps Truesdell | For The Journal Gazette

Tacos Bravas, the latest business venture for Fort Wayne food truck pioneer Bo Gonzalez, began with a search on an online for sale board.

Gonzalez says he's always browsing sale sites, and his interest was piqued when he saw an old-style Head Start school bus for sale in Indianapolis.

“We were thinking about doing another food truck, and I thought, 'Why not a school bus?' ” says Gonzalez, who began with a hot dog cart and now owns the cart, a food truck and the burger restaurant on Fairfield Avenue.

Of course, converting the bus to an operational food truck was a bit more difficult than a regular step van but it's looking good now, Gonzalez says, and it's ready to hit the road.

Tacos Bravas will be downtown today for the first time, serving a handful of the many taco recipes that Gonzalez has developed over the past six years.

“The cool thing about it is that we were supposed to be a taco cart from the get-go. Now we're finally visiting a taco concept,” he says.

“We just really want to showcase some traditional Mexican recipes. It's going to be our own style, but we're really drawing our inspiration from street food in Mexico City.”

The menu will rotate regularly as the Bravas crew gets a feel for what works in the small kitchen and what patrons like. Gonzalez says there will be a more set menu midway through the end of the season.

However, there will be a carne asada to start with beef from Wood Farms from Fort Wayne.

There's also a carrot taco, which is vegetarian (but not vegan). Carrots from Hawkins Farms are cooked in a house-made mole butter and garnished with other vegetables.

All of the tacos are served on house-made tortillas, Gonzalez says. The masa will be made fresh and the tortillas hand-pressed.

“The tag we're using is 'tacos and street food,' ” Gonzalez says.

If a dish is a “great street food item,” such as meats on a stick over rice and beans, it will be put on the truck.

He said he is also experimenting with a Mexican croquette.

He anticipates that the taco truck will be out with the hot dog truck throughout the season unless one has been requested for a business or private event.

Distillery growing

A change in state law is opening the door for a local distiller to expand and do something it's always wanted.

House Bill 1496, authored by Rep. Ben Smaltz, R-Auburn, changes the waiting period for an artisan distiller's permit from three years to 18 months.

With the reduction in waiting time, this will allow Three Rivers Distilling Co. to receive a permit in July and provide the opportunity to grow the business.

Pictures have been shared on social media of changes taking place at the facility at 224 E. Wallace St.

Three Rivers Distilling Co. owners, including Stephen Blevins and Aaron Pence, lauded the change as a win for small businesses in the craft-distilling industry.

However, when I spoke to Pence this week, he said the company wants to keep the details of the expansion mum until a June 13 news conference.

Three Rivers Distilling Co. is Fort Wayne's only craft distillery. It is owned and operated by veterans.

JT's back again

The building on West Paulding Road, just east of Fairfield Avenue, doesn't look like much as you drive by.

But the small building, which has a hand-made green and white sign near the road, is the new home to the soul food fare of James K. Thomas Sr.

JT's Soul Food is a carry-out only spot that serves fried catfish, wings and side dishes that Thomas is known for.

Thomas had previously owned restaurants on East Pontiac Street and at McKinnie Avenue and Hanna Street.

There is a Sunday dinner special, available throughout the week, that includes two meals for $23 and comes with two sides, cornbread, dessert and two drinks.

Hours are 11a.m. to 9p.m. Tuesday through Friday; 1 to 9p.m. Saturday; and noon to 7p.m. Sunday. The phone number is 310-0856.

Around town

Dicky's Wild Hare, 2910 Maplecrest Road, is hosting a Summer Starter Party on its newly renovated patio Saturday. The festivities begin at 5p.m. and will include beer from Bell's Brewery.

The Michigan beer makers will be on hand with Oberon, Two Hearted, Amber Ale and Mars (a double IPA) brews.

Pasquetti's Italian Steakhouse, 3530 W. Jefferson Blvd., has closed. Its Facebook page lists the restaurant as permanently closed, and a post says, “We have been unable to reach an agreement with the building owners regarding what we believe to be a fair price for the building and grounds, and we are unwilling to continue renting the premises.”

An auction will take place June 8, where restaurant equipment and numerous personal items will be up for sale.

The restaurant, which got its start in Bluffton and was known for its garlic knots, was open about a year.

The Dish features restaurant news and food events and appears Wednesdays. Fax news items to 461-8893, email or call 461-8304.